From military forces to spying, former Baathists are a powerful factor in the rise and control of Islamic State. A look inside the group’s surveillance operation shows how
When IS swept across Iraq in June 2014 and “absorbed thousands of [Ba’athist] followers,” these “new recruits joined Saddam-era officers who already held key posts in Islamic State” (italics added). But the Reuters piece then adds:
Most former Baathist officers have little in common with Islamic State. Saddam promoted Arab nationalism and secularism for most of his rule. But many of the ex-Baathists working with Islamic State are driven by self preservation and a shared hatred of the Shi’ite-led government in Baghdad. Others are true believers who became radicalised in the early years after Saddam’s ouster, converted on the battlefield or in U.S. military and Iraqi prisons.